The Art Institute of Portland

The Art Institute of Portland offers programs in Advertising, Design Management, Design Studies, Design Visualization, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Apparel Accessory Design, Apparel Design, Fashion Marketing, Digital Film & Video, Game Art & Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Visual & Game Programming, Web Design & Interactive Media, Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry, and Culinary Management.
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A Feast for the Eyes: Art Institute of Portland’s 12th annual fashion show hits the runway

Saturday June 5th will see the Art Institute of Portland’s 12th annual graduate fashion show hit the runway again. Dubbed “A Feast for the Eyes,” this year’s inter-departmental partner is Ai’s International Culinary School, and along with Ai’s scholarship fund, the show will benefit the Oregon Food Bank. Every year the popular show’s attendance seems to be bursting at the rafters, moving into larger and larger venues. This year, the production has moved into the Oregon Convention Center, giving them some breathing room. Between designers and all the various aspects of pre-production and production, the show is truly a collaboration within the entire school. The Fashion Event Production Class, taught by Apparel Design Department Chair Sue Bonde and Instructor Eden Dawn Killen, lies at the heart of the planning. Dawn comments, “It is technically an apparel class but we have students … from all backgrounds. A Graphic Design major to put together all our promotional material, Web Design to help with our fantastic web site, Design Management to keep us all on deadline, Fashion Marketing to handle all the model arrangements and garment inventory and our good old Apparel Design majors that helped with every aspect you can imagine.”

Top: Director of Apparel Design Sue Bonde
Photo: Ed Kavishe\Fashion Wire Press
Bottom: Instructor/Producer Eden Dawn
Killen. Photo courtesy Eden Dawn

Regarding this year’s culinary theme, Department Chair Sue Bonde gave us a sneak peek into the evening’s program; “The theme will be well represented on the runway during the first act. A coffee filter dress, swimwear with fruits and vegetables (Carmen Miranda anyone?); and a whole wedding party in dessert themed ensembles will be showcased in Act I … The Second Act features our outstanding Senior Collections (as usual). We will be showcasing 18 designers showing three to five garments.”

I caught up with a few of the show’s student designers to get an idea of what’s been in their minds as they design their collections for the show. Jasin Weiner, in addition to being an Ai student, has put in many an hour as a volunteer for various Portland fashion events, not the least of which was staffing for Portland Fashion Week. Weiner is calling his collection “Pale Rider.” “It was inspired by the book Don Quixote,” Weiner explains, “and has traces of the Spanish desert mixed in with cowboy stuff. The idea was to take Don Quixote’s confusion of reality with fantasy and use that with the fabrics and silhouettes. I use exaggerated shapes and mix goat and elk leathers with silk knits and organic cottons and one of the dresses is made with cheese-cloth. I designed all the belts also.” Cheese-cloth. I’m intrigued. I asked him what his favorite part of this particular design process was: “My favorite part … was after sketching over 100 illustrations I just could not get it. Then I thought ‘what would she wear if she was robbing a bank?’ She would have to be so beautiful and dangerous that you would freeze in your steps.” Jasin sent a teaser pic with a couple of his looks, but I’d be more inclined to call it a spoiler, so go see them at the show instead. There is one ensemble in particular that strikes me. It includes a long, almost trench-like coat with a big asymmetric lapel flap and oversized button details, all over a layered top & skirt. It is so easy with any western-wear influence to go over the top and just end up looking flat-out cowboy. I’m impressed as I view the photo with how the piece is balanced thematically and delivers a strong sense of contemporary fashion sensibility. This girl looks like she might pull a revolver on you, but she’d have a glass of fume blanc in her other hand, not a shot o’whiskey.

Designer Jasin Weiner. Photo courtesy of same.

Designer Claire Wolfson checks in with her “Loagy Bay: A Time Traveler’s Collection.” “My senior collection,” Wolfson reports, “was originally inspired by an old New England house filled with thousands of antiques and trinkets from all different parts of history. My concept for my collection was piecing history together through seams. While developing my pieces I found inspiration for my silhouettes & details from vintage garments mainly from the 30’s and 40’s. I modernized my collection by adding exposed metal zippers and playing with different lengths and style lines. My collection consists of coat-dresses made of wool blends including cashmere and camel hair. The collection is accented with antique upholstery fabric and trim.” I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s done with the upholstery fabric accents. I saw some up-cycled upholstery looks recently and the fabric can have some unique textures and can hold its shape in ways that apparel fabric usually can’t.

Top: Designer Claire Wolfson
Bottom: Designer Alex Gallatin
Photos courtesy of same

Alex Gallatin will show her “Future Tense” collection. Gallatin explains her looks are “inspired by 1980’s silhouettes and minimalist architecture. It is all constructed out of wool fabric in a monochromatic color palette in various shades of gray. Throughout the entire collection the main theme is pleats that are individually filled with pieces of cord to provide amazing texture and a very unique design element. From concept and design to the final product, this entire process has taken a year, but just sewing the final garments alone took 6 months.” We’ll keep an eye out for those corded pleats, and for six months’ worth of construction.

All told, the program shows off more than just the work of the apparel designers, though. Sue Bonde writes, “The Art Institute will also be featuring the outstanding work of some of our students in the Design Management, Fashion Marketing, Accessory Design, and Graphic Design programs. Over 60 students have been working on the pre-production and production components for this year’s show. The Fashion Event Production class meets once a week for two quarters. Their tireless energy and dedication to excellence is really what makes our shows a success.” I asked the show’s producer Eden Dawn if there were any special challenges this year “Well, the food has definitely provided challenges! There have been some random lemon peels, literally left along the way… But at its core this show is about highlighting the amazing work of our seniors and showing the talent that comes out of our department every single year. And I think that is what we aim for each time, just with a fresh twist.” Fresh twists, cores, coffee filters, cheesecloth… as Sue Bonde says, “BRING YOUR APPETITE…YOU WON”T BE DISAPPOINTED!” As usual, I look most forward to seeing how the seniors’ individual inspirations have found expression through fashion. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR TICKETS. The show sells out every year, so I wouldn’t wait any longer, and bring some canned food with you for the Oregon Food Bank. The suggested donation is two cans per person, and will really help out.

Speaking of the show’s producer, Eden Dawn, a chance encounter with her at the Portland Mercury’s fashion show earlier this month turned into an impromptu web-TV interview. Take a look and see what’s in store for you at this year’s Art Institute show. Video by Greg Day.

Read the entire article HERE

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AIPD 2010 - 2011 CALENDAR


9.3.10 September Holiday

9.6.10 Labor Day

11.25 & 11.26.10 Thanksgiving

12.23 & 12.24.10 Winter Holiday

12.31.10 New Years Eve


Summer 2010
7.12.2010 - 9.25.2010

Fall 2010
10.4.2010 - 12.18.2010

Winter 2011
1.10.2011 - 3.26.2011

Spring 2011
4.4.2011 - 6.18.2011

Summer 2011
7.11.2011 - 9.18.2011


Runway shots may be seen HERE

Backstage and pre-show shots may be seen HERE

Paparazzi and red carpet shots may be seen HERE